H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania gives his remarks at the Mwalimu Nyerere International Convention Centre earlier yesterday, during the two-day Official State Visit of H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China. (Photo by Tagie Daisy Mwakawago)
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
WELCOMING REMARKS BY H.E. JAKAYA MRISHO KIKWETE, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, AT THE OFFICIAL INAUGURATION OF THE MWALIMU NYERERE CONVENTION CENTRE, DAR ES SALAAM, 25 MARCH, 2013
Your Excellency, Comrade President Xi Jinping and Madam Peng Liyuan;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Once again I heartily welcome you, and First Lady Madam Peng Liyuan, to Tanzania. Congratulations on your well deserved election to the highest offices of your great Country: Secretary General of the Communist Party of China and most recently President of the Peoples Republic of China. We are very pleased and, in fact humbled that you included Tanzania in your first visit to Africa since you assumed the Presidency in your great country. We in Africa highly appreciate this gesture of friendship and solidarity that in your first foreign trip, Africa is in your itinerary. And, more importantly we are anxious and excited that you will seize the opportunity of your visit to Tanzania to speak about China-Africa relations.
Your visit to Tanzania will further consolidate and advance the long-standing friendship and cooperation between Tanzania and China, built on a very solid foundation by the founding fathers of our two nations, (who unfortunately all are late) President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere on the Tanzanian side, Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Chou en Lai on the Chinese side. The relationship we are witnessing today was further nurtured, consolidated and advanced by the successive generations of leaders in our respective countries. Fortunately for Tanzania two of my Predecessors, His Excellency Ali Hassan Mwinyi, the Second President and His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa the Third President are here with us.
Sino -Tanzania relationship has endured a lot and withstood the test of time. It is the steadfastness of our leaders and peoples of our two countries which sustained it and enabled it to grow from strength to strength. Now, we have become all weather friends. The words of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere in a speech, delivered at the Peking Square in Beijing, during his state visit to China in February 1965 attests to underline this fact:
He said: “We shall see for ourselves what are China's intentions towards us. We shall not be told by others........the fears of others will not affect Tanzania's friendship with China, any more than our friendship with other countries would be affected by what their opponents say of them".
Ladies and Gentlemen;
When President Julius Nyerere established diplomatic relations with China in 1964, visited China in February, 1965, Premier Chou En Lai visited Tanzania in June 1965 and Tanzania supported China to take her rightful seat at the United Nations, it was at the height and intense heat of the cold war. Today, forty eight years later the fear of China by others still remains, despite the cold war having ended. Those words of wisdom by the founding father of our nation still resonate in my mind and the minds of all of us in government. They informed and guided Tanzania’s - China policy for the past five decades. The fact of the matter is that “we will always be guided by our own judgment based on Tanzania’s best interests”. I say this to assure you that Tanzania will continue to work closely with China at bilateral and multilateral settings in pursuit of national and global development goals of mutual interest.
Next year our two countries will be celebrating 50 years of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, friendship and cooperation. Our relationship is excellent and China and Tanzania see eye to eye on many bilateral, regional and global issues. Trade and investments have been increasing. Tanzania has received invaluable support and assistance in our development endeavours as it has been the case with many African countries. These have made a huge difference in the livelihood of our nations and peoples. We will always be grateful and pray for continued support and assistance both at bilateral level and under FOCAC, which has proved to be a very useful initiative to support Africa’s development. In this regard we look forward to expansion of areas of cooperation and resource.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
We are gathered here this morning for official handover and inauguration of the Julius Nyerere Convention Centre built by the support and assistance from the Government and people of China. This is another important milestone in the cooperation and solidarity between our two nations and peoples. Indeed, it is quite befitting that this monumental building bears the name of the founding father of the Tanzanian nation and of China-Afri-Tanzania relationship. We could not have chosen a better name.
The Convention Centre joins the long list of other symbols of Sino-Tanzania friendship and cooperation. These include, among others, the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, Urafiki Textiles Mills, the National Stadium and several others which for brevity of time I will not mention all of them.
The Julius Nyerere Convention Centre will provide another modern conference facility for Tanzania and will be the first of its kind in Dar es Salaam. It will now be easy for Dar es Salaam to host local and international conferences which require facilities like the ones available at this Convention Centre. I am sure it will also be a source of promoting conference tourism for the City of Dar es Salaam.
Allow me, at this juncture to acknowledge and pay homage to your predecessor, His Excellency President Hu Jintao, for accepting my request and making it possible for this magnificent Julius Nyerere Convention Centre to be built. The people of Tanzania will forever cherish this symbol of true friendship.
Before I conclude let me express my profound gratitude to the China’s policy towards Africa. It has worked well and we have no doubt that the people of China will continue to walk with the people of Africa. So far China has been a dependable supporter and ally of African countries and other Third World countries, in their quest for support in their development efforts and plea for a just and equitable world economic order. We are eagerly waiting to hear from you on the policy of your administration towards Africa. It is now my singular honour and pleasure to welcome you to address this audience.
Long live China-Tanzania friendship! Long live China - Africa friendship! Please welcome.
I thank you for your kind attention.